John the Baptist referring to Jesus said, I must decrease and he must increase’. We see the beginning of John’s decreasing in today’s short gospel. When Jesus walked by, John said to two of his many disciples, ’Look there is the lamb of God’. With these encouraging words John urged his two disciples to follow Jesus. Sensing he was being followed Jesus turns and asked them ‘what are you looking for’ or in others words, ‘what’s up?’ They ask him, ‘where are you staying?’ and they accept his invitation, ‘come and see’. They stayed with him the rest of the day listening to what he has to say and asking him questions. Their lives were never the same because they accepted that invitation, come and see.’ Struck by this encounter with Jesus they rushed to tell others. Andrew convinced his brother Peter that he had to meet this Jesus from Nazareth whom Andrew was convinced was the Messiah. So began the gathering of the disciples of Jesus. As one of the Fathers of the Church described this moving from John the Baptist to Jesus – they left the lamp and went to the sun.
Think for a bit of how that invitation of Jesus ‘come and see’ changed the lives of Andrew then Peter and later James and John. They would be his faithful followers and give their lives professing their faith in Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and savior of all.
This invitation is offered to us when we are nudged by Jesus to settle down and spend a bit of time in peace and quiet. In that time of quiet we become aware of the blessings in our lives – our health, our sight, our mobility and our family. In that quiet time we can tell him of our worries and concerns, in that quiet time we can ask him to watch over those we love. In those moments we are invited to deepen our relationship with Christ. Accepting the invitation to come and see we may come to a deeper appreciation of his love for us, especially when our thoughts turn to his passion and death. Every time we accept that invitation, come and see, we come away changed, even is a small way. We may come to see in a deeper way the teaching of John, ’this is the wonder, not that we love God but that God first loved us and sent his son as our redeemer.’
Come and see is a bit like the call to Samuel in our first reading. When Samuel tells God he is ready to listen then the real connection between God and Samuel begins. Anytime we are willing to take the time to ‘come and see, come and listen, come and get to know him better our relationship with Christ will be deepened.
There can be other times in our lives when we are invited to come and see. We may meet someone who is a total stranger a stranger who puts us off a bit. A conversation begins but because this stranger is of a different faith, a different race or social background, a different sexual orientation we brush them off, dismiss them. With that brush off we rob ourselves of the chance to get to know this person better, we lose the possibility of having our lives enriched by this man or woman. We can be losers because we fail to take the time to come and see and let ourselves be exposed to new ideas, new insights.
Christ comes into our lives in every person we meet in the course of the day. In and through these people we can come to new insights about them and especially about ourselves. They may make us face our bigotry, or face how close-minded we may be, or how unwilling we are to be open to new ideas.
Scientists, environmentalists and ecologists are inviting us to come and see the devastation we are causing to the life systems that sustain our life on Earth. Come and see the harm we are doing to future generations. Come and see our need to free ourselves from our dependency on fossil fuels. Come and see our responsibility to live simply that others may simply live.
Remember the song from the musical The King and I, Getting to know you – getting to know more about you day by day? That can be the journey we make every day as we accept the invitation to ‘come and see’ and find the time to spend the time with Christ in peace and quiet or make the effort to be more open to new friends or new ways of looking at life itself.
As we continue to celebrate this Mass together we can pray for ourselves and for each other that, by whichever way it comes to us in the course of the day, we will be open to and respond to the invitation – come and see.